RM2.1 Billion Integrated Facility Owned by Korea’s CJ CheilJedang and France’s Arkema Set to Position Malaysia As An Emerging Centre For Green Industrial Biotechnology, Create 2,500 Green Jobs by 2020
KERTIH, TERENGGANU, 4 June 2015: Malaysia is poised to become a key player in the global industrial biotechnology sector with the official opening of the world’s first integrated bio-methionine and thiochemicals facility owned by Korea’s CJ CheilJedang (CJ) and France’s Arkema in Kertih Biopolymer Park (KBP), Terengganu.
The facility, which involves the development of CJ’s bio-methionine plant and Arkema’s thiochemicals platform, was officially launched by the Sultan of Terengganu, HRH Al-Wathiqu Billah Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah here today.
Also present at today’s event were Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, YB Datuk Dr. Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah; Terengganu Menteri Besar, YAB Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman; Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) CEO, YBhg. Dato’ Dr. Mohd. Nazlee Kamal; East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) CEO, YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John; Arkema Chairman and CEO, Mr. Thierry Le Henaff; and, CJ Group Chairman, Mr. Sohn Kyung Shik.
Located on a 70-hectare land in KBP, the integrated facility will be the first in the world to use fermentation process in producing bio-methionine, an amino acid commonly used in the manufacturing of animal feed.
With the operation of the CJ-Arkema manufacturing facility, Malaysia is now the world’s first producer of green bio-methionine. The plant exported its first batch of EAA to Indonesia in January 2015.
Jointly promoted by ECERDC and BiotechCorp, the new RM2.1 billion integrated manufacturing facility in KBP is the single largest investment in Malaysia’s biotechnology sector to date. The project has a potential total investment of RM3 billion over a period of 10 years.
In the longer term, the project is expected to generate a cumulative Gross National Income (GNI) of RM20.4 billion and produce 2,500 green-jobs for Malaysia by 2020. This would include 474 workers to be employed by CJ and Arkema, of which 60 per cent will consist of high-level technical and knowledge workers such as microbiologists, chemists, engineers and biotechnologists.
The creation of the knowledge workers is in line with Malaysia’s New Economic Model to develop quality workforce and achieving a high-income status by 2020.
CJ is a world leader in industrial biotechnology with innovations in fermentation and purification. Arkema, which owns the proprietary platform technology, is a global chemical company and leading specialty chemicals producer.
The integrated plant in KBP is a platform for CJ, via its subsidiary CJ Bio Malaysia Sdn Bhd, to respond to the strong demand for methionine in Asia. For Arkema, the project is its new industrial base in Asia to help serve its Asian customers better, specifically through its subsidiary Arkema Thiochemicals Sdn Bhd.
This project also has the potential to develop local expertise in niche areas such as chemical engineering and industrial biotechnology, and provide an opportunity for collaborations with local universities and research institutions to become centres of excellence in biotechnologyFrom the regional perspective, the project will spur the establishment of the industrial biotechnology industry in Malaysia, particularly in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER). More importantly, it will heighten awareness of foreign investors of the industrial biotechnology potential in the country.
Terengganu Menteri Besar, YAB Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman said: “It is indeed a proud moment to have two globally renowned industrial biotechnology players, namely CJ and Arkema, bringing their expertise to Terengganu. This is a mark of confidence in our state to deliver their expectations. It would place Terengganu, and in particular the Kertih Biopolymer Park (KBP) on the world map for industrial biotechnology.
“This project also marks the growing importance of industrial biotechnology as another key growth area for Terengganu and this would complement its already well-established oil and gas industry,” he noted.
CEO of BioTechCorp, YBhg Dato’ Dr Mohd Nazlee Kamal said: “Malaysia is proud to host the first and largest fermentation based bio-methionine facility in the world, and also Asia’s largest theochemicals platform. This further demonstrates Malaysia’s commitment to the ongoing advancement of biotechnology in the country, particularly in the bio-industrial sector. It stands as a testament to how far we have progressed in the last decade and will further boost Malaysia’s bioeconomy agenda by providing commercial and job opportunities for the benefit of the nation.”
CEO of ECERDC, YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John said: “The establishment of CJ-Arkema’s integrated facility in KBP marks another major milestone for the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) as it signifies the region’s readiness to receive investments from high value sectors.”
“KBP is set to provide commercial opportunities to biotechnical companies from all over the world and we are confident that the presence of global giants such as CJ and Arkema will attract the arrival of more global biotech players in the park in the near future,” Datuk Seri Issace noted.
Mr. Thierry Le Henaff, Chairman and CEO of Arkema in his speech said: “Nearly three years after the official start-up of the construction, we are proud to be here today celebrating our success. I would like, therefore, to reaffirm that Malaysia and Kertih have been the good choice for this strategic project.”
“Asia and other high growth countries are the key development focus regions of Arkema; they represent about 25 per cent of our turnover today. Our aim is to increase this part to more than 30 per cent in near future. Therefore, this new world-scale Kertih unit in Malaysia fits perfectly into our global strategy and it also shows our commitment in Asia,” Mr. Le Henaff noted.
Mr. John Kang, CEO of CJ BIO Malaysia Sdn Bhd said: “CJ has successfully developed and commercialised the world’s first bio-methionine plant at the Kertih Biopolymer Park (KBP). We believe KBP will become a major hub for industrial biotech companies for years to come. The bio-methionine plant in Kertih will be a strategic location to serve the emerging markets in China and Asia. I believe this is just the beginning of major innovations to come from CJ BIO.”
The CJ-Arkema integrated facility is also an important milestone in the national bio-economy agenda to establish Malaysia as a bio-refinery hub. The production of Essential Amino Acids (EAA) bio-methionine using the proposed fermentation and enzymatic technologies is a promoted activity under the High Technology Promoted List for Biotechnology feed or feed supplement.
It resonates the Government’s policies and initiatives on industrial Biotechnology such as the National Biotechnology Policy, the Third National Agricultural Policy (NAP3), the National Feedlot Programme and the East Coast Economic Region (ECER)’s Master Plan. In addition, the spin-off production of methyl mercaptan and dimethyl disulfide (DMDS) is also in line with the government’s aspiration to promote the downstream activity of oil and gas sector.
The CJ-Arkema integrated facility is strategically located in KBP, within the ECER Special Economic Zone (ECER SEZ), a concentration of area of high impact projects designed to act as the catalyst of growth in ECER. This dedicated industrial park is developed by ECERDC in collaboration with the Terengganu State Government, and is easily accessible to nearby ports in Kertih, Kuantan and Kemaman. By establishing their presence in KBP, CJ and Arkema can leverage on the advantages of the existing support, logistic facilities and connectivity offered by Kertih Integrated Petrochemical Complex to major export hubs.
CJ-Arkema’s integrated bio-methionine manufacturing plant will also strengthen the petrochemical downstream sector and enhance the value chain within the existing petrochemical cluster in Kertih. The project will leverage on the supply of existing local raw materials, services and facilities in Kertih, which will translate into the creation of new economic activity and business for local suppliers and service providers such as PETRONAS, Kertih Terminal, Kuantan Port, TNB and other service suppliers.